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Ian Hogarth Appointed to Spearhead UK’s AI Taskforce

Tech Entrepreneur Ian Hogarth Appointed to Spearhead UK’s AI Taskforce

Government backs £100 million AI taskforce to ensure safe and responsible development of AI.

In a move applauded by the tech industry, Ian Hogarth, a distinguished AI specialist, tech entrepreneur and investor, has been announced as chair of the government’s AI Foundation Model Taskforce.

The appointment has positioned the UK at the forefront of global artificial intelligence safety, an area described by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as offering “the greatest opportunity” to establish the UK as a world leader in technology.

Hogarth will report directly to the Prime Minister and Technology Secretary, offering his expertise to steer the responsible development of cutting-edge AI technology.

He carries with him a considerable cache of experience and insight, having co-authored the annual State of AI report since 2018 and serving as a visiting professor at University College London.

Positioning the UK as a Global AI Safety Leader

The Taskforce, backed by an initial £100 million of government funding, mirrors the successful model of the Vaccine Taskforce, emphasising agility, delegated authority, and the capacity to make swift, informed decisions.

Its mandate is to conduct vital AI safety research and inform the development of international safeguards, such as shared safety and security standards and infrastructure.

Hogarth commented on his new role, saying,

“UK scientists and entrepreneurs have made many important contributions to the field of AI, from Alan Turing through to AlphaFold. The Prime Minister has laid out a bold vision for the UK to supercharge the field of AI safety, one that until now has been under-resourced even as AI capabilities have accelerated.”

The Taskforce will focus its efforts on taking forward advanced safety research, leading up to the first global summit on AI safety, set to be hosted in the UK later this year.

The summit presents an opportunity for nations, industry, and academia to coalesce, exploring collective research possibilities and working towards shared safety and security standards.

An Investment in Safe AI Progress

Technology Secretary Chloe Smith emphasised the role of the Taskforce in future-proofing the UK’s economy, stating,

“Our Foundation Model Taskforce will steer the responsible and ethical development of cutting-edge AI solutions. With Ian on board, the Taskforce will be perfectly placed to strengthen the UK’s leadership on AI.”

These foundation models, including the large language models that power popular services such as ChatGPT, Google Bard, and Claude, are general-purpose AI systems trained on extensive data sets.

They can be applied across the economy, presenting considerable growth and innovation opportunities while posing unique safety challenges.

Sunak reiterated the importance of developing AI in a responsible and ethical manner, commenting,

“The more artificial intelligence progresses, the greater the opportunities are to grow our economy and deliver better public services. But with such potential to transform our future, we owe it to our children and our grandchildren to ensure AI develops safely and responsibly.”

Responsible Stewardship and Mitigating Conflict of Interest

In line with his public duties, Hogarth has agreed to implement a series of mitigations to manage potential conflicts of interest, including divesting personal holdings in companies building foundation models or safety tools.

The Taskforce has also committed to establishing regular checks and controls to respond to its dynamic development scope and work programme.

Hogarth’s appointment to the Taskforce is an important step in the UK’s drive to shape the future of AI, encouraging the responsible and safe development of a technology that promises to radically transform our society and economy. This move underscores the government’s commitment to seizing the extraordinary opportunities that AI presents while ensuring the safety and security of its application.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

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